On today's podcast we discuss the Google-Motorola merger, copyrighttermination rights, AT&T's new plan to raise text message prices for customers, and encouraging developments in the publishing industry.
Late last night AT&T confirmed that they are once again raising the price of text messaging on consumers. The current $10/1000 message plan is being eliminated, leaving only the $20/unlimited plan for consumers who do not want to pay $0.20 per message. This change follows AT&T’s announcement in January that it was eliminating both the $5/200 plan and the $15/1500 plan.
At the very least, this constitutes a 100% increase in text messaging prices for the over 70% of adults who send and receive less than 1000 text messages per month. It is a 400% increase for customers who send and receive less than 200 messages per month (over 50% of adults send and receive 300 messages or less per month, so that number is not insignificant).
One of the hardest things about growing up is learning how to face hard problems. The easy impulse is always to try and ignore a hard problem and hope that it goes away. The flaw in this strategy is that it almost never works. In fact, it usually only makes the problem worse. Oftentimes, it makes the problem worse in ways that you never could have expected. Eventually there is a moment where you realize that the only way to solve the problem is to face it head on, even if that means making some hard decisions. That is the moment you grow up a little bit.
T-Mobile recently informed companies who use short codes to connect with T-Mobile customers that the process for code approval is going to change. The good news is that there is now an option to speed up the process. The bad news is that if you are not a Fortune 500 company, it is going to cost you.
As regular blog readers will remember, one step in the long, expensive process of activating a short code (those five or six digit numbers you use to text donations to charities or votes for American Idol) is getting individual approval from each of the carriers to access their subscribers (you read that right). With T-Mobile, this part of the process takes about 30 days and costs $500.
Last week, Senator Barbara Boxer sent a letter to the CEOs of the nation's four nationwide wireless carriers. Responding to a petition started by law student Masaya Uchino, Senator Boxer asked the carriers to accelerate the process of delivering Japanese relief funds donated by text message. As both the petition and Senator Boxer's letter correctly point out, most SMS donations take approximately 90 days to actually make it from donor to recipient organization.
While it is commendable that both Senator Boxer and Mr. Uchino are urging carriers to accelerate the donation process in the case of Japan, we must also step back and ask why this dysfunctional system continues to exist at all.